At Risk

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And so, we have those data points. We also have all these other data points that we use as well. Since , the local clubs have been required to report critical safety incidents to the national organization.

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Those reports are not available to other affiliates or the public. We treat all these allegations as criminal matters first, which ensures any harm to a child is investigated and handled by law enforcement with the full cooperation of local Clubs. Our goal is to get to zero. Attorneys representing victims say compiling and releasing that information to the public is not only a best practice for organizations that serve youth, but would also help educate the public about the extent of sexual abuse and the need to protect children from it.

That has been the priority for forever. Of the nearly 90 local affiliate clubs contacted by Hearst Connecticut Media for comment on individual abuse cases, many confirmed the organizations require mandated reporter training and annual criminal background checks for volunteers and staff who have contact with children. We also conduct quarterly safety trainings for staff that includes … mandatory Child Protective Services training.

In several of the civil suits reviewed by Hearst Connecticut, plaintiffs claimed that local clubs did not adhere to the national protocols, such as mandatory background checking of all staff and immediate reporting of abuse to law enforcement. Their friends are there. They come because the staff and programs. Realizing as an adult that officials who ran the institution they loved as children failed to protect them from abuse is difficult to come to terms with for many, Amala said.

Since , local clubs have been required to report any safety incident, including child sex abuse, to the national organization, Miller said.

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For 50 years, Miller said every local organization has had the responsibility to report abuse to law enforcement and regulatory agencies. All six cases of alleged failures to report abuse to authorities occurred in the last 50 years. His son, Jeffrey Starcher, and a swim coach at the club also knew of the abuse, the lawsuit alleges. Attorneys representing the club in the pending civil case have denied wrongdoing by the organization.

The civil suit was filed shortly after Kilgore was criminally convicted of six counts of sexual abuse of a minor for abuse that occurred in the s and s.

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Club leadership and its executive board learned through an internal investigation that Kilgore slept naked in a bed with children on an overnight trip in , but no one reported the abuse to police, the lawsuit claims. In some civil cases, attorneys alleged that warning signs, such as grooming behaviors, spending inappropriate time alone with children, and adults not respecting boundaries with children were ignored by club employees, creating the opportunity for abuse.

He molested a boy at that club sleepover in , criminal documents say. Hernandez was convicted of two counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor and sentenced to six years in prison for the abuse. A program manager at the Lester H. Lauderdale, Florida, knew year-old attendee Khalon Booker hugged and kissed an year-old girl at the club, according to civil court filings.

Booker was later convicted of sexually assaulting the girl multiple times during the same time period the hugging and kissing was reported. Because there was no evidence that Booker committed any abuse at the clubhouse, the suit was dismissed, according to an attorney representing the club. Violent felonies, convictions of any charges related to harming a child, and, depending on the job, any convictions around theft or embezzlement are disqualifiers. Sims was later convicted of sexually assaulting a year-old girl and a year-old girl who attended club programs in Bedoya was convicted of eight counts of predatory criminal sexual assault on Aug.

A pending lawsuit claims Bedoya sexually abused a child from the club in his vehicle in It also recommends tighter ratios for younger children, Miller added. Miller noted that in some states, clubs are licensed daycare providers that must adhere to state regulations around staffing ratios.

Between and , three separate lawsuits against affiliates in California alleged children were sexually assaulted by peers in club bathrooms. What was unimaginable a generation ago has begun to occur--others are matching and surpassing our educational attainments. If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves.

We have even squandered the gains in student achievement made in the wake of the Sputnik challenge. Moreover, we have dismantled essential support systems which helped make those gains possible. We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament. Our society and its educational institutions seem to have lost sight of the basic purposes of schooling, and of the high expectations and disciplined effort needed to attain them. This report, the result of 18 months of study, seeks to generate reform of our educational system in fundamental ways and to renew the Nation's commitment to schools and colleges of high quality throughout the length and breadth of our land.

That we have compromised this commitment is, upon reflection, hardly surprising, given the multitude of often conflicting demands we have placed on our Nation's schools and colleges. They are routinely called on to provide solutions to personal, social, and political problems that the home and other institutions either will not or cannot resolve. We must understand that these demands on our schools and colleges often exact an educational cost as well as a financial one. On the occasion of the Commission's first meeting, President Reagan noted the central importance of education in American life when he said: "Certainly there are few areas of American life as important to our society, to our people, and to our families as our schools and colleges.

We are confident that the American people, properly informed, will do what is right for their children and for the generations to come. The Risk History is not kind to idlers. The time is long past when American's destiny was assured simply by an abundance of natural resources and inexhaustible human enthusiasm, and by our relative isolation from the malignant problems of older civilizations.

The world is indeed one global village. We live among determined, well-educated, and strongly motivated competitors. We compete with them for international standing and markets, not only with products but also with the ideas of our laboratories and neighborhood workshops. America's position in the world may once have been reasonably secure with only a few exceptionally well-trained men and women.

It is no longer. The risk is not only that the Japanese make automobiles more efficiently than Americans and have government subsidies for development and export. It is not just that the South Koreans recently built the world's most efficient steel mill, or that American machine tools, once the pride of the world, are being displaced by German products. It is also that these developments signify a redistribution of trained capability throughout the globe. Knowledge, learning, information, and skilled intelligence are the new raw materials of international commerce and are today spreading throughout the world as vigorously as miracle drugs, synthetic fertilizers, and blue jeans did earlier.

If only to keep and improve on the slim competitive edge we still retain in world markets, we must dedicate ourselves to the reform of our educational system for the benefit of all--old and young alike, affluent and poor, majority and minority. Learning is the indispensable investment required for success in the "information age" we are entering.

Our concern, however, goes well beyond matters such as industry and commerce.

Indicators of the Risk

It also includes the intellectual, moral, and spiritual strengths of our people which knit together the very fabric of our society. The people of the United States need to know that individuals in our society who do not possess the levels of skill, literacy, and training essential to this new era will be effectively disenfranchised, not simply from the material rewards that accompany competent performance, but also from the chance to participate fully in our national life.

A high level of shared education is essential to a free, democratic society and to the fostering of a common culture, especially in a country that prides itself on pluralism and individual freedom. For our country to function, citizens must be able to reach some common understandings on complex issues, often on short notice and on the basis of conflicting or incomplete evidence.

Education helps form these common understandings, a point Thomas Jefferson made long ago in his justly famous dictum: I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion. Part of what is at risk is the promise first made on this continent: All, regardless of race or class or economic status, are entitled to a fair chance and to the tools for developing their individual powers of mind and spirit to the utmost.

This promise means that all children by virtue of their own efforts, competently guided, can hope to attain the mature and informed judgment needed to secure gainful employment, and to manage their own lives, thereby serving not only their own interests but also the progress of society itself. Indicators of the Risk The educational dimensions of the risk before us have been amply documented in testimony received by the Commission.

For example: International comparisons of student achievement, completed a decade ago, reveal that on 19 academic tests American students were never first or second and, in comparison with other industrialized nations, were last seven times. Some 23 million American adults are functionally illiterate by the simplest tests of everyday reading, writing, and comprehension.


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About 13 percent of all year-olds in the United States can be considered functionally illiterate. Functional illiteracy among minority youth may run as high as 40 percent.

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Average achievement of high school students on most standardized tests is now lower than 26 years ago when Sputnik was launched. Over half the population of gifted students do not match their tested ability with comparable achievement in school. Average verbal scores fell over 50 points and average mathematics scores dropped nearly 40 points. College Board achievement tests also reveal consistent declines in recent years in such subjects as physics and English.

Both the number and proportion of students demonstrating superior achievement on the SATs i. Many year-olds do not possess the "higher order" intellectual skills we should expect of them. Nearly 40 percent cannot draw inferences from written material; only one-fifth can write a persuasive essay; and only one-third can solve a mathematics problem requiring several steps.

AT RISK (2015)

There was a steady decline in science achievement scores of U. Between and , remedial mathematics courses in public 4-year colleges increased by 72 percent and now constitute one-quarter of all mathematics courses taught in those institutions. Average tested achievement of students graduating from college is also lower.

Business and military leaders complain that they are required to spend millions of dollars on costly remedial education and training programs in such basic skills as reading, writing, spelling, and computation. The Department of the Navy, for example, reported to the Commission that one-quarter of its recent recruits cannot read at the ninth grade level, the minimum needed simply to understand written safety instructions. Without remedial work they cannot even begin, much less complete, the sophisticated training essential in much of the modern military.

These deficiencies come at a time when the demand for highly skilled workers in new fields is accelerating rapidly. For example: Computers and computer-controlled equipment are penetrating every aspect of our lives--homes, factories, and offices. One estimate indicates that by the turn of the century millions of jobs will involve laser technology and robotics. Technology is radically transforming a host of other occupations. They include health care, medical science, energy production, food processing, construction, and the building, repair, and maintenance of sophisticated scientific, educational, military, and industrial equipment.

Analysts examining these indicators of student performance and the demands for new skills have made some chilling observations. Educational researcher Paul Hurd concluded at the end of a thorough national survey of student achievement that within the context of the modern scientific revolution, "We are raising a new generation of Americans that is scientifically and technologically illiterate. Some worry that schools may emphasize such rudiments as reading and computation at the expense of other essential skills such as comprehension, analysis, solving problems, and drawing conclusions.

Still others are concerned that an over-emphasis on technical and occupational skills will leave little time for studying the arts and humanities that so enrich daily life, help maintain civility, and develop a sense of community. Knowledge of the humanities, they maintain, must be harnessed to science and technology if the latter are to remain creative and humane, just as the humanities need to be informed by science and technology if they are to remain relevant to the human condition. Another analyst, Paul Copperman, has drawn a sobering conclusion.